Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On The Somewhat Wretched Lives Of Mrs. Whatif And Mr. Ifonly

So, I have decided that there are two kinds of people in the world. Well, not people...there are lots of those. But two kinds of worriers. Or really three...three kinds of worriers. And then the forth kind of people who do not worry at all. So that is 3 kinds of worriers making four kinds of people, some of which do not worry. Should I start over?
First kind of worrier. Those who fret about the future. I will call these good folks the "Worry Warts." Just as a side bar they also worry about the present whenever they are not in control of the situation. We could also call them the What-Ifers. "What if Sally gets hurt? What if I don't do well? What if he doesn't like me?"
Then there are the "Regreters." Our good friends who agonize over past mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities. We could call them the If-Onlys. "If only I hadn't done that. If only I had jumped sooner. If only I had not said that." You get the idea. Of course we can add the third group, those who do both, but what could we do for those poor fools but laugh at them!?
In case you are wondering...I attend the If Only School for Chronic Regreters. But I hope to graduate soon. It is funny how the Worry Warts are distressed by what they cannot control and Regreters by what they DID NOT control (eh hem...themselves). A good friend of mine recently told me about her visit to the dentist. They had to pull in a second dental assistant to help hold her tongue during the exam, because apparently she could not control it. Boy howdy if that is a job anyone out there is willing to do...you're hired! Cuz I could really use an assistant to help me hold my tongue.
As a budding yogi, I understand (and have even blahged about) the importance of living in the present and really relishing every moment of what IS. Live in the here and now. In some respects it is easy. I am not one who worries about the future. I make plans and have hopes and dreams, but I know that not everything is within my power to control and so why fret about it. Friends often ask me if I worry about my kids when they are on dates or Hunky Hubby when he is out climbing mountains or skiing down them. The answer is no. I am not in control of those situations and worrying about them will not change what happens one bit. It is out of my hands. I pray for their safety and make sure I know where they are and how to help if there is trouble, but that is all I can do. No, I do not worry too much about that which I cannot control. My burden is the big bag of "oopses" I carry over my shoulder. And it is a big bag. We all have mistakes and regrets. It is part of life. I believe in repentance and in plain old apologies, but it never seems to erase the memory. I keep a running list. Well, two lists I guess.
If Only I had... If Only I Had NOT...
Thinking of the things I wish I had not done or had not said actually evokes a physical response. My heartbeat quickens, my jaw tightens, my stomach turns. This is the stress response. I understand it is much the same bodily reaction that our Worry Warts experience. This is our body's sympathetic nervous system kicking into gear releasing all kinds of nasty hormones that one might need if there were real danger to run from. But this is only perceived danger and we are better off without the juice coursing through our veins unnecessarily. It all seems so silly. The worry I mean. What is real is now. We do not know the future. We cannot undo the past. We must live in the present. Find joy in the living of our lives. Learn from our mistakes. Do a bit better every day. Look forward with joy. But live today without the hauntings of yesterday or tomorrow.
So the question is...How do we do it? How do the Regreters let lie and the Worry Warts let go? I do not have the answer. I know we must do it. Worry never changes the past or the future only the joy we have in the present. I am ready to graduate from my school of worry. You?
Quote of the Day: "There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry... Yesterday and Tomorrow."
~Robert Jones Burdette humorist

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Do These Training Wheels Make My Manifesto Look Big? Pt II

Ok, since this ride is only one...ONE...week away I thought I would repost in case anyone wonders where I am next Saturday morning. Yeah, I know. No one wonders...
Have you ever had the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something? Yeah. Me too. Usually I just ignore it. Ok, this is complicated so I will get to the point. Several things have happened over the last few months that have given me the determination to change my status quo and break out of my box. Ok, perhaps determination is too strong a word. What is the word for "I'm still chicken but I think perhaps it is about time I do change because I am turning 40 next week and so what better time to finally break out of my shell and do something really different, really hard and really unexpected even if I don't really want to?" Where the heck is my thesaurus...
So, if you can, follow my train of thought through the last few months...
First, an old college roommate announced that she was training for her first triathlon. Something I have always thought I might like to do, but too afraid.
Then a friend suggested that I consider doing a local century bike ride this summer. Yeah, right.
Then a beautiful young lady who is livin' the life and blogging about it *here*posted what I will call her "Fear Manifesto." She is doing it. She is busting out. Naming her fears, conquering her fears and telling the whole blogosphere about it. I was touched by her original post and a follow-up entitled "what are you waiting for?" So I asked NatureGirl, "NatureGirl, what are you waiting for?" She had a whole list that I will not bore you with now. But then she had the gall to remind me of my own recent post *here* in which I was dumb enough to say that I was finally ready to take a step outside of my box.
So....I asked Hunky Hubby if he would like to ride that Century with me. He would. One hundred miles. I was thinking of doing the 1/2 though. That sounded doable, and not too much of a challenge, and even kinda fun, and isn't that enough, and couldn't I call that my box-breakout!
But then (stay with me here I know it is confusing)...a girlfriend who is doing a different 100 miler this spring right before her 40th birthday, gave me a good talking to a la...
"What do you mean only half, you are fit, it is your 40th birthday for crying out loud, it's only an extra 50 miles, yeah it is long and hard and you could wind up with a bike seat permanently affixed to your posterior, embrace it, go big or go home!" And yes, those were her exact words.
So Now...I don't know. I think I may actually want to go through with this thing, crazy as it seems. Hmmmm....yeah....who knew? But how do you shed the fear? And what is it that I am really afraid of? I think perhaps...
Quote of the Day:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

--Marianne Williamson author

Friday, August 6, 2010

What Walt May Have Forgotten To Mention In THE END

I have been known to get worked up about things from time to time. I can even be a bit uptight sometimes. My online persona is calm, cool, collected and well balanced. But that is because we can be anything we want to be in this world where there is time to think through each sentence and edit. In my real life I do not have this advantage and sometimes my passion, opinions and temper get the better of me. I must have done this at least once with a good friend of mine, because she suggested a topic for me to blah blah blahg about. I must be loosening up in my old age, because I just ended that sentence in a preposition and I am going to leave it. See, I am not uptight...anymore.

ANYway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself...The topic? Princesses. Specifically “How Walt and his Princesses Didn’t Do Us Any Favors” or “What the Heck!?” Ok, I know. That needs a little explanation.

First of all. Name a princess who has a mother. Anyone? Nope, that is a step mother and she is awful. Yep, that one too. Anyone else? Ok. So, no one has a mother. Why you ask? Well, first of all it is a cheap literary/film device used to create instant sympathy for our young female protagonists. You do not know her well enough to like her, but you feel sorry for her because she hasn’t got a Mum. Cheap trick, but effective. Plus, being motherless allows said protagonist to get into all kinds of trouble that would otherwise be avoided had someone been there at home to ground her till she came to her senses. And in case you are thinking of trying it, apparently locking her in a tower just creates more problems.

So, the real problem I have comes in the message that these headstrong teens are sending to the audience. For instance, the beautiful redheaded siren who utters the infamous “But, Daddy, I love him!” Love? Seriously? She had never even MET him. Yet, as you may recall, was willing to put life on the line and give up home, family and the ability to breath underwater for the strapping lad with nice hair. Sheesh, Navy guys! Or how about the well-read adventurous lass who dreams of leaving the provincial town that is holding her down in search of something more! Was the “more” really a man who constantly yells at her and then locks her in her room without food until she complies with his wishes? Hmmm? Message: “If I am just sweet enough and love him well enough he will turn from a beast into a handsome Prince.” Sorry to ruin it for you.

Don’t get me wrong. My girls watch(ed) these movies. One of them loves all things Princess, and I did illustrate the worst examples. The point is...the point is...well I don’t know really. I guess I want my girls to have a bit better role models when it comes to love and marriage. I certainly do not think they are ruined by watching these. Perhaps it even gives us something to talk about with our daughters. But those dang Princesses make it look too easy. Handsome? Check. Good Kisser? Check. Sign me up! Too easy.

Truth. It is hard work to have a good, happy and successful marriage. Fun work. Interesting work. Amazing work. But work, ya know, everyday, forever. By definition work is: “Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.” I love that when we think of it in terms of relationships. Do we as mothers and fathers have a clear purpose or result in mind? Yes! We want to live happily ever after. I guess I just wish a few of those fairy tales would end “And they lived happily ever after, always putting considerable effort into their partners’ well-being and focusing their attention on service to God and one another, by being unselfish and considerate, praying together often and treating each other better than when they were dating, all while keeping the big picture in mind. The end.

Quote of the Day: "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times...always with the same person."

--Mignon McLaughlin author